Then Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Jesus is driven by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness for the purpose of being tempted by the devil. He fasts for 40 days and nights.
The devil then comes to Jesus with three temptations. First, he suggests that Jesus turns stones into bread to relieve the hunger from fasting. Jesus rebukes him with the scripture about man not living by bread alone.
The devil takes Jesus to a high place, telling Him to throw Himself down and trust angels to save Him. Again Jesus rebukes the devil with Scripture.
Finally the devil tries to appeal to Jesus’ human pride. He tells Jesus to worship the devil and all the glories of the world will be His. Jesus replies by telling the devil to leave, for God has commanded that we are to worship Him alone.
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted. The word translated as “led” literally means to “cast out.” The Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness in order to be tempted.
It is often said that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman and will not make us do anything against our will. In some ways this is generally true, but there are times when the Holy Spirit is insistent, almost violent.
If I am serious about following Jesus, there will be many times when I feel pushed into doing things I would prefer not to.
Here, Jesus is pushed into a confrontation that everything in His human nature must have recoiled from. A long period of fasting followed by a full-on battle with satan is not something anyone would willingly embrace.
It is also said that God does not lead us to temptation. Maybe not, but here the Holy Spirit drove Jesus to a place specifically to be tempted by satan.
God allows us to face temptation in order to strengthen our resolve to follow Him. Standing firm against concerted testing enables us to know that we have won a victory in Christ. Failing under temptation shows that we need more of the Holy Spirit. Temptation is a win- win, even when we lose!
Holy Spirit, when testing and temptation come to me, help me to look to you for the answer. Please make me stronger in my faith. Amen.